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J Urol. 2000 Dec;164(6):2112-8.

Bladder epithelial cells from patients with interstitial cystitis produce an inhibitor of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor production.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



The etiology of interstitial cystitis is unknown. We previously identified an interstitial cystitis urine factor, antiproliferative factor, that inhibits proliferation of bladder epithelial cells in vitro and complex changes in epithelial growth factor levels, including profound decreases in heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF). Bladder and renal pelvic catheterization of patients with interstitial cystitis indicated that the antiproliferative factor is made and/or activated in the distal ureter or bladder. Therefore, we determined whether bladder epithelial cells from interstitial cystitis cases produced the antiproliferative factor and whether purified antiproliferative factor could alter production of growth factors known to be abnormal in interstitial cystitis.


Antiproliferative factor activity was determined by 3H-thymidine incorporation into primary bladder epithelial cells. The antiproliferative factor was purified by size fractionation followed by sequential chromatography involving ion exchange, hydrophobic interaction and high performance liquid chromatography. HB-EGF, epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Bladder epithelial cells from patients with interstitial cystitis produced a single antiproliferative factor with the same purification profile as that purified from interstitial cystitis urine. Purified antiproliferative factor specifically inhibited HB-EGF production by bladder epithelial cells in vitro, and the effect of interstitial cystitis urine or purified antiproliferative factor on bladder cell proliferation was inhibited by recombinant human HB-EGF in a dose dependent manner. Similar to urine HB-EGF, serum HB-EGF was also significantly lower in interstitial cystitis cases than in controls.


Bladder epithelial abnormalities in interstitial cystitis may be caused by a negative autocrine growth factor that inhibits cell proliferation by down-regulating HB-EGF production. Furthermore, decreased levels of urine and serum HB-EGF indicate that interstitial cystitis may be a urinary tract manifestation of a systemic disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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